The appearance of an object should convey its character and how it actually functions, believes Chuang Hsiang Ching. He feels that the appearance of consumer electronics today bears no relation to their functionality. “Like a sweet sugar coating, these goods are covered with a ‘stylish’ shell,” he explains. Concerned by this disparity between their ‘inner truth’ and the ‘lie’ that is their appearance, he created a series of drawings in which he reveals the hidden life of items like the iPhone. He also came up with a first attempt at a different machine in which the skin reveals something of the mysteries contained within: a contemporary take on the Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, popular during the Enlightenment. A series of mysterious artefacts are displayed inside this bizarre contraption. When switched on, wooden balls attached to a series of rods squeak into motion inside the machine, pummelling the outer canvas into alienesque lumps and bumps. Hsiang Ching’s Re:Machine evokes the old-fashioned mythology and wonder surrounding the seemingly unexplainable. His project is conceived as a visual metaphor for the increasing complexity of the machines around us, and our lack of insight into their high-tech workings. The more complex machines become, the greater our ignorance and amazement at what horrors or marvels might lurk within. By re-imagining the appearance of the machine, he asks us to question what we otherwise take for granted.
© Design Academy Eindhoven